In point of fact, little can be said with confidence about the meaning of age for individual behavior in some abstract causal sense, because of two confounding circumstances: (a) Most research on the subject has unavoidably confused its significance as an identifier of the person's location in historical time. Do the political and social attitudes of those over age 70 show the consequence of an inevitable aging process, or are they the result of birth in the 19th century? (b) Behavior in an age is only partly a consequence of the characteristics the individual brings into the situation. Societies are organized to expect particular kinds of behavior, and are ordinarily successful in bringing performance into line with those expectations. One of the most likely accompaniments of a process of social and economic development is a modification of age norms.
Some Special Political Problems
Although the evidence is indeed thin, there is reason to speculate that rapid population growth contributes to (but does not create) certain unique types of politico-legal problems in less developed countries. For example, it appears reasonable to inquire about the size of the bureaucracy as a tool of administrative management in those countries in which there are pressures on the government caused by underemployment and unemployment.
Rapid population growth in rural areas can place remarkable strains on u legal system that presents real or perceived barriers to economic well-being; for example, the way land is held, its passage from generation to generation, and inheritance laws-all influence political decisions. Here the mix of political and economic consequences becomes blurred, and it is abundantly clear that not enough is known about the ways people react to and perceive these problems.
Finally, there is one clear political consequence of rapid population growth that has deliberately been excluded from this analysis: the sometimes exciting politics of fertility control—or family planning. This would be the subject of another entire volume, to say the least. It is possible to expect that education, information, and understanding of the consequences of rapid population growth will in the near future substantially decrease the volatility of this issue in most countries. Nonetheless, a different frame of reference and method of analysis would be required to make any definitive statements on this subject.
Society and the Family
The consequences of rapid population growth for the family depend heavily upon the associated changes that may be occurring in the society and the economy. For example, the arithmetic of child dependency would be very much altered if the society were to prescribe child education and, or, f for employment opportunities for entrants into the labor force, for medical services and social security for the old. For exarrmle. with an increase in the number of school-aee children, the sovern-oer caoita costs of sovern-shine returns: it would notelated collective consumption needs would stay largely unchanged for the better part of a decade, and